Last update 7/19/2012 12:01:12 PM (GMT+7)

Airlines cut fares as competition for the skies starts to take off
The country's five airlines are offering a slew of promotions as they vie with one another to attract customers amid the economic slump.

At the beginning of last month Vietnam Airlines tied up with a service company and nine banks to roll out a promotion programme offering a 50 per cent discount on fares from Ha Noi to HCM City, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok.

Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) newspaper quoted the director of the carrier's HCM City office, Nguyen Thi Minh Yen, as saying that cheap tickets are also offered on domestic flights if booking is done two months in advance.

Another programme offers a free ticket for a child along with an adult's ticket.

Jetstar Pacific has a discount sale every Friday afternoon and offers a guarantee that its fares are the lowest.

The carrier said thanks to its promotions, more than 23,000 people bought tickets starting at VND350,000 in May.

Its deputy director, Ta Huu Thanh, said the promotions have increased the airline's market share.

Vietjet Air is co-operating with tour operators to cut ticket prices by 49 per cent.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam said the market has become attractive since 2007 when the Aviation Law came into effect permitting private airlines to be established.

But in the last two years competition has also surged, with new private carriers being set up, taking the total number of airlines in the country to five, it said.

Vietjet and Mekong Air are privately owned while JPA is jointly owned by Vietnam Airlines and Australia's Qantas.

The Vietnamese aviation market is growing as it does at 18-20 per cent a year.